As part of our August Future Shapers series, in partnership with Audi, we’ve scoured the country to find 2017’s hot innovators. Here we meet Dr Sindiwe Magona, Jessie Zinn, Koleka Putuma and Nicole Bessick, who are all exerting their influence in the creative industry. Read on for their tips for success.

1. The writer: Dr Sindiwe Magona

Dr Sindiwe Magona was born in Umtata and grew up in Gugulethu. By correspondence, under paraffin light, she studied via Damelin College and got her matric in two years. A-Levels followed, also via correspondence (London University), then she completed a BA through UNISA. She got a scholarship that took her to New York, which led to her working at the UN for 25 years. Her novel Beauty’s Gift was published in 2008 and was described by AIDS-activist Zackie Achmat as ‘one of the most important books about HIV/AIDS in our country’. At 73, the writer is now about to embark on her PhD.  

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Tip for success:

‘Live in awareness. Don’t let life pass you by. You need to become an active participant in your life. Things don’t happen to you, you need to make things happen. Be brutally honest with yourself. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses, then deal with them.’

 

2. The film-maker: Jessie Zinn

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She studied English literature and film production at UCT and graduated in 2015. Over the course of her degree, she wrote and directed two short films (Umva and Into Us and Ours), which have been screened and picked up several awards at prestigious international film festivals. Last year, she directed Can I Please Go to the Bathroom?, which highlights the importance of affordable sanitary products and won second prize in the Youth Jury Award section at the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in June.

Tip for success:

‘Always be true to yourself. As a young female film-maker, I’ve found that a lot of people want to assert their own narrative and the way that they approach life onto you. It’s really important, as an emerging talent, to stick to your guns and to approach your stories in the way that you see fit.’

3. The poet: Koleka Putuma

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While studying theatre and performance at UCT, she pursued a career in performance poetry. After graduating in 2014, she decided to be a full-time theatre practitioner and poet and has been doing that for the last two years, which included directing plays for theatre, writing and performing. She released her first anthology in April this year called Collective Amnesia, which was followed by a 20-day national book tour. The debut poetry anthology explores being a woman, blackness and history.

Tip for success:

‘Find time to reflect. Taking the time to reflect on your day, your journey and your life puts everything into perspective.’

4. The actress and TV presenter: Nicole Bessick

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Nicole Bessick is no stranger to our local TV screens. She’s starred in a number of South African commercials and was a finalist on eTV reality show, She’s The One. Her future is now firmly focused on landing inspiring TV and film roles that challenge stereotypes and make a difference.

Tip for success:

‘Think big! The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams.’

Pick up a copy of our August 2017 issue, and meet all 12 resilient Marie Claire Future Shapers, on sale now.

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